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FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Mandarin Oriental is Coming to Costa Rica

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Guanacaste, Costa Rica The beloved luxury hotel brand is making waves with a host of new hotel openings in the next few years, and it looks like Costa Rica--the world's premier destination for eco-tourism-- is getting a luxury addition. Mandarin Oriental, Costa Rica will open in 2009 in the Guanacaste province, known for its beautiful Pacific coastline, stunning volcanoes, excellent hiking, and bird (and monkey) watching. Situated just 25 minutes from the Liberia airport, the 130-room beach resort will be the cornerstone of a gated golf and residential development called Rancho Manzanillo. Leisure activities will include an 18-hole Fred Couples Signature Championship golf course, 20,000 square foot spa, multi-level outdoor swimming pools, water sports from the resort's natural beach, and exotic wildlife viewing from the property's 200 acres of protected tropical dry forest. The best part of all? The Tree House Suites, nestled high in the canopy of Guanacaste trees.

Luxury Eco-Resorts from AOL Founder, Steve Case

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Costa Rica First stop: Costa Rica. Steve Case is launching a new luxury resort company, Revolution Places, with an eye on environmental and cultural preservation. Only natural for a guy who grew up in Hawaii and feels passionately about not paving over paradise. The first environmentally-friendly project is an $800 million, 650-acre development in Cacique, Costa Rica, on the northwest Pacific coast. What's in store? A 120-villa One&Only resort by Sol Kerzner, who developed Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; a 180-unit Miraval: Life in Balance-branded destination spa resort; a Tom Doak-designed golf course; and a tennis and fitness center designed by Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. Expected to open in 2010, the resort will be designed to reduce water and energy waste, with renewable energy sources and on-site treatment facilities to reuse waste water.

Photo Via Washington Post

Going to the Galapagos Islands: Serious Savings at Royal Palm Galapagos

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Palm Galapagos Describing a trip to the Galapagos as "stunning" or "mind blowing" is a serious understatement. It's more like the trip of a lifetime. Witness the most fascinating wildlife on earth-- giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, schools of colorful fish-- a living study of evolutionary science since Charles Darwin's first fateful trip through these waters. This September, plan a voyage to the only luxury hotel in Galapagos National Park, Royal Palm Galapagos, nestled in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Situated on 500 acres of unspoiled natural wilderness, with incredible views of the neighboring islands, this exclusive hotel was constructed of authentic local materials, in harmony with the natural environment. "You are as close to nature as luxury will allow." Enjoy a special promotional rate of 50 percent off the room rate this September 2007, which also includes breakfast, roundtrip transportation from and to Baltra Airport, and the use of the exclusive VIP lounge. Prices are a steal, starting from $173 per couple, per night.

Bliss in Buenos Aires: Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Argentina's cosmopolitan capital has been high on the traveler's "it" list in recent years. Sizzling with style and sexiness, oozing sophistication, Buenos Aires is the place to be. What's more-- the city is incredibly affordable, so a night on the town-- pretty-people watching at tango parlors, indulging in an embarrassingly inexpensive feast-- can be had for a song. Not to mention the shopping. Stock up on beautiful, high-quality leather goods for a fraction of their cost in the U.S. Where to stay in the most sensual city on earth? The Palacio Duhau, built in 1934 by French architect Leon Dourge, is one of the few remaining palaces representing the city's traditional Porteña aristocracy. Located in the fashionable Recoleta district on Avenida Alvear, the hotel seamlessly blends B.A.'s legendary old time glamour with 21st century design and cutting edge technology. Duck into the Vinoteca to taste marvelous vintages from a formidable selection: 350 different labels, 3,500 bottles of Argentine wines featuring the best Argentine Malbecs. Wines are paired with dried fruits, homemade breads and marmalades, air dried ham, and the best artisanal cheeses selected by the Maitre Fromager in the Cheese Room.

Five Star Alliance Selects World’s Best Luxury Hotels 2007

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island It's official. Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency for luxury hotels, has released the annual "World's Best Luxury Hotels" lists. Our crew of somewhat obsessive luxury hotel fans gives recs so often, we decided it's important to share that info with the world. Along with the company's expertise, the criteria used to select the World's Best Luxury Hotels includes honest feedback from Five Star Alliance clients and the popularity of hotels. Since Five Star Alliance only focuses only luxury hotels, these picks are truly la crème de la crème.

The world's most luxurious hotels are selected for eight categories, including Luxury Beach Resorts, Business Hotels, Luxury Honeymoon Resorts, Luxury Golf Resorts, Luxury Spa Resorts, Luxury Ski Resorts, Luxury Resorts for Families, and Romantic Resorts.

Do you have a favorite that didn't make our lists? After checking them out, come back and discuss your favorites with us! (You'll find a link for comments at the bottom of each list.)

Trendspotting: Luxury Hotels Get Serious Technology Overhauls

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn Las Vegas A regular size TV will no longer cut it. The digital revolution during the age of TiVo means business travelers are used to home entertainment systems far superior than the technology found on the road. But now the tide has turned. Luxury hotels are upgrading rooms with high definition TVs, iPod docking stations and a wide selection of programming, personal entertainment systems with movies, music, and games, and more. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, in the hotel industry, the technology race is on. There's been a "paradigm shift more toward the lifestyle traveler." The good news for this new breed of road warriors: with on-demand programming, you'll never miss another episode of Entourage again.

Nine World Wonders by Private Jet with Abercrombie and Kent

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Abercrombie and Kent private jet Visit nine wonders of the world-- from the Egyptian pyramids to the incredible carved sculptures on Easter Island-- with Abercrombie & Kent's globe-spanning journey by private jet. The luxury tour operator enlists expert guides to accompany their programs; these professionals are the ideal traveling companions who work hard to ensure an unforgettable journey. Privileged guests can choose from an array of sightseeing excursions, sport, shopping and spa options at selected destinations. And with Abercrombie & Kent, guests experience privileged access to these nine landmarks of world culture-- a real insider's perspective. As to be expected, the accommodations on this circumnavigation are the finest, like the elegant Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, and the luxurious Four Seasons First Residence in Cairo. For 2008, the itinerary spans Miami, Lima, Easter Island, Apia (Samoa), Sydney, Siem Reap (Cambodia), Yangon (Myanmar), Jodhpur & Agra (India), Muscat (Oman), Petra (Jordan), Cairo, and New York. Dates are January 13- February 6, 2008 and February 7- March 2, 2008. There are a limited number of seats on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. The private Boeing 757-200 is limited to just 50 guests, so make your reservations today.

The World’s Best New Hotels 2007

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bauer Il Palladio, Venice ...brought to you by the good folks at Travel and Leisure, who just published their "It List" of hot new hotel properties. Of the 25 chosen elite, the luxurious newbies include Trailblazers like Frank Gehry's architectural masterpiece, a sparkling mass of twisting metal in the midst of the Rioja's celebrated vineyards, Beachcombers like Vietnam's gorgeous Nam Hai hotel, New Urbanists like the dazzling Mandarin Oriental in Prague, and Healers, like the swanky Bauer Il Palladio Hotel & Spa in Venice and our favorite Four Seasons Westlake Village, created in partnership with the California WellBeing Institute.

Luxury Cruises: “The World” Cruise Liner Gets a Banyan Tree Spa

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The World The World, the impressive private yacht owned (or rented) by folks from over 40 different countries, is a floating residential community that circumnavigates the globe, checking out diverse ports of call for 2-5 days at a time. Managed by ResidenSea in Miami, The World is outfitted with state-of-the-art facilities including a full-sized tennis court, jogging track, gym, five restaurants, move theater and library, and beautiful spa. Banyan Tree Spa has recently announced a collaboration with The World and will soon launch its Sanctuary of the Senses onboard the cruise ship. Banyan Tree's signature Asian-inspired treatments will be available at sea for the first time. Located on Deck 5 in "The Village," The World Spa by Banyan Tree features four single treatment rooms and a Beauty Garden that incorporates a Hair Salon and Manicure Station.

Explore Machu Picchu and the Inca Triangle with Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco, Peru

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monasterio A fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, Hotel Monasterio, managed by Orient-Express Hotels, is the jewel of the historic city of Cuzco. Located in the heart of Cuzco, the 16th century Hotel Monasterio is a magnificently renovated masterpiece, a national historic landmark which has retained its charming characteristics. Here, guests are spoiled with luxurious amenities, beautiful, oxygen-enriched guest rooms, and superlative service, including the indulgent Bath Butler service. (After a long day, soak in a steamy bath, specially drawn for you, with the glow of candles, rose petals, champagne, aromatic bath salts...) High in the Andes, more than 3000 meters above sea level, the former capital of the Inca dynasty is the ideal base to discover the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu, accessible via a spectacular three-hour train journey. Hotel Monasterio has designed the exciting Inca Triangle package, whereby guests can spend a week exploring Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu, including guided tours, transfers and domestic flights, breakfast daily, and some other meals. The seven-night adventure is priced from $3,918 per person.